I had never been to Manila but I imagine the city would be similar to Bangkok but with more chaotic traffic and lots more people.  And I was right.

But what a great experience it was!
With friendly local
bodybuilders Jay and Rowena
Hole in the wall gym in his house.  True hardcore!


  One of the first things you'll notice about Manila is the security.  Fair enough you'll see security guards at the airport but no not Manila.  There's also guards at every entry to the mall, public places, even entrance to our hotel checking for weapons and bomb! 

They have sniffer dogs (not that they do much) too that sniff for firearms etc.  I think its all overkill (pardon the pun) but I guess its better to be safe than sorry.


The other thing is Traffic.  Lots of traffic and lack of road rules.  But somehow all the cars seem to  know just how many centremetres they can allow each other to pass through.  If you haven't been to asia before then you don't know how chaotic it normally is but here you'll have to relax even more as the taxi drivers do their thing and get you from A to B.

Taxi fares are quite cheap, for a 15min ride is only $3.  Interestingly there's not regulated taxi industry and each cab are owner operated and they give cabs interesting names like 'God's Grace' and 'Good Hards'.  There's also one there called 'AllanMarie', maybe the Stubbingtons are moonlighting here lol.  Plus there's 'Mad Max' style jeep/buses that take people round which have some pretty cool artwork on them.
Loved these Mad Max jeeps


A trip would not be right without catching up with bodybuilders.  I caught up with a couple of Phillipine bodybuilders Rowena Marcaida and Jay.  Jay is the Phillipines Overall Champ (not sure which federation) but he's compete in Hong Kong end of June.  Looks pretty good huh currently weighing 80kg and will compete in 75kg class.  


Fresh coconut water, yum Tone up Jandals, go figure!

And then there's the shopping!

Manila is a fantastic place to shop as you can find some great bargains on clothing and shoes.  Two malls you definitely need to go to are the Mall of Asia which is the biggest mall in all of Asia not just phillipines which has more upmarket clothing stores and the other is Greenhills Shopping Centre which is more market stalls and you can bargain on products.   The annoying thing is that the women's tops and probably men's too are too narrow for us Europeans!
Food is also cheap and you can still eat clean.  Ofcourse you have all the options of western food like McDonald's, Starbucks, TGI Friday's, Steakhouses.  But why would you when you can experience local food for as cheap as $4 a meal for grilled tuna or other japanese meals.  The only thing I found difficult was the soy and oyster sauces they put on food as by the end of the trip my body just swelled up like spongebob from all the extra water on me.  Other than that it was great trying all the different foods.


Overall, Manila is a great city and the filipinos are super friendly and extremely polite.  Shopping assistants and everyone in the service industry are always smiling and calling me 'ma'am' which got really annoying after a while but I guess its better that than them ignoring me lol. 

If you get the chance to come here, you should as you'll definitely get more bang for your buck!

Happy travels!
Lisa, Go Figure
June 2012

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